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China Visas - How to Apply for a China Visa?

This page covers the three basic things that China tourists need to know about China (tourist) visas and links to further information: 1. Do I need a China visa?... 2. How do I apply?... 3. How do I extend it?... China visa FAQs

What is a China visa?

A China visa is a travel authorization document usually required by China for entering its borders, which is issued by a Chinese embassy or consulate, affixed in your passport.

Who needs a China visa?

Usually most foreigners traveling to mainland China, whether for business or pleasure, require a visa. It's very difficult to obtain a China port visa at the Chinese border entry points. However some cities and regions of China are visa free in certain circumstances.

China's Visa Exemptions

Tourists holding ordinary passports of Singapore, Brunei and Japan are allowed to enter China for up to 15 days without visas for tourism or family/friend visits. Direct flight transit without leaving the airport doesn't require a visa, and then there are special areas of China with visa-free policies.

China Visa for Philippine Passport Holders

Philippine passport holders have to be in a 5+ people tourist group to apply for China visa.


  • Passport: Original passport which valid for at least another 6 months; a photocopy of the passport's information/photo page and emergency contact page.
  • Complete Visa Application Form: Submit a complete Visa Application Form of the People's Republic of China. Write N/A if the question doesn't apply to you.
  • Front view, white background photo: Affix one color photo on the Application form, in 48mm×33mm size without head covering.
  • Travel itinerary for a tourist group (at least 5 people)
  • Airline ticket reservation
  • Hotel reservations
  • Invitation letters for tourist group from China

You may be required to go to the Chinese Embassy for an interview if the visa officer deems it necessary.

How do I apply for a China visa?

It is usually recommended that you apply for the visa one or two months before the intended travel.;

What do I need for a China visa application?

The following is the bare minimum for a tourist (L) visa application. Other documents;and requirements may apply, especially if you are not applying for the usual L (tourist)visa. See our detailed China visa information.

  • Passport (original, not a copy) with at least two blank visa pages (amendment pages and pages with bar codes are not acceptable for visa stamping),valid for at least 6 months
  • One completed, signed Visa Application Form for each passport, with appropriate visa fee and any supporting information required
  • Two passport photos (head and shoulders only, front view, with a white background, approximately 35mm x 45mm

When you have the required items ready, submit the application at the appropriate visa office of China embassy/consulate-general, or Visa Application Center in your country. Check out your country's China embassy information.

If you cannot go in person, you can entrust someone else to drop off the visa application, or a travel/visa agency to help handle your visa application. For applicants holding a U.S. passport, we recommend VisaHQ, who provides a fast, efficient service at a very competitive price. Visit their website at http://www.visahq.com/.

How do I extend my China visa?

Foreigners who want to stay in China beyond the duration of their visa need to apply for an extension.
The visa extension application should be a form submitted to the Local Public Security Bureau 7 days before the expiration date of the visa.

Visitors traveling with a group on a group visa and who want to stay longer than the group should apply for an individual visa.

Visitors who want their visa to be extended should provide the following evidential materials:

  • Valid passport and visa
  • A completed application form for visa extension
  • Reason for the extension

The length of the extension depends on the type of visa and multiple entry visas can not be extended.

You are advised not to overstay the duration of your visa or fail to apply for an extension before your visa expires as you risk being heavily fined and have your travel plans disrupted. Please contact your travel advisor for assistance in visa extensions.

Tailor-Making a China Tour

Visit the Great Wall of China

China Highlights is your China tour tailor-making expert. See the recommended tours below for inspiration:

As an alterative to customizing the recommended tours linked above to meet your individual requirements, we can help you tailor-make a tour according to your interests and requirementes. Or check out our ideas and suggestion on How to Plan Your China Tour in 2017

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